How to Manage Two Jobs (Without Burning Out)


Many households these days have two incomes. The thing is, it's not uncommon for those two income streams to come from the same person.

If you're in that boat — working two jobs that eat up most (or all) of your time — you could be headed for burnout. When that happens, your risk your health, your mental wellbeing, and losing the money those jobs provide. Here are some tips to bring back some balance and stability to your hectic schedule.

You must make time for yourself

Just as it's important to put away a little money each month for your savings, it's equally important to tuck away some personal time as well. You may be thinking that there aren't enough hours in the day, but all work and no play is a recipe for serious burnout. When that happens, you could lose one or both of those jobs you depend on.

Even if you just take your lunch outside and eat it in the sunshine, away from the hustle and bustle, that small act of getting a breather can really cheer you up. Ideally, you should set aside time away from both jobs so that you can destress naturally. See a movie, hang out with friends for a few hours, take a hike, ride a bike, soak in the tub, or take up a fun hobby. If you don't make some time to yourself, you are going to suffer. (See also: 4 Signs You're Burned Out (and How to Recover))

Treat yourself when you can

If you are constantly working to pay bills and nothing else, you're living to work. That's no kind of existence. By working night and day on two or more jobs, but not seeing any of that hard work result in some kind of happiness, you'll resent it so much that you could have a breakdown.

So, spend a little of that money on something that makes you genuinely happy. You don't have to run out and buy a Louis Vuitton watch or a pair of Gucci shoes. Something small and inexpensive, but wonderful for you and your state of mind, is all that you need. Maybe it's a massage or a manicure. It could be a treat from the local candy store, or a special delicacy you enjoy. You put tremendous effort and sacrifice into earning a living — you deserve to enjoy those earnings once in a while. (See also: Treat Yourself With These 7 Free Self-Care Routines)

Think positive

Easier said than done, right? After all, what's fun about working two jobs just to make ends meet? Having said that, this is the reality you're living with. You can either do two jobs feeling miserable and hating life, or approach it with a positive state of mind.

One of the easiest ways to do this is to keep a daily list of the good things that happened to you that day. Even if it's as simple as, "Today I paid all my bills and did not get charged a late fee," it's something that lifts you up. Are you healthy? Is your family happy and doing well? Are you doing a job that is way better than other ones out there? Remember, many people are paid awful wages and cannot afford some of life's basics. In comparison, are you thriving? Find the good and write it down.

Release the pressure

Just like a pressure cooker, if you don't let off steam, you could blow. Now, how you do that will depend on what motivates you. Some people release all that pressure by working out, which is very beneficial to your health. Others party hard every Friday night. You could even take up boxing, or buy a punching bag and beat the living daylights out of it. Scream into a pillow if you have to, or find a friend to help you share your problems.

You could also think about seeing a therapist if you can afford it. Many insurance plans offer mental health copays as low as $20. Talking it out with an objective third party can be a great way to cope with the two job burden. (See also: 10 Tricks to Avoid Workout Burnout)

Do whatever you can to make the jobs enjoyable

Again, this is not always easy. Some jobs really are awful, and that is difficult to ignore on the best of days. But if you can find ways to make either job even a little more tolerable, you'll find it easier to juggle them both.

Can you play fun games with colleagues while you're working? For example, many copywriters in ad agencies will take bets on who can put the most ridiculous word or phrase into a piece of copy that actually gets approved. Are there challenges you can set yourself? Records you can break? Tasks that, with a slight tweak, can be made interesting, or even fun? Your job, or jobs, may suck, but a slight paradigm shift could make them much easier to tolerate.

Finally, keep your house in order

It sucks to think about housework and chores when you're busy, but it's even worse to come home to a messy house with a sink full of dishes and piles of laundry everywhere. Working two jobs gives you even less time to spend cleaning and tidying, which is a little ironic as a tidy home is essential when you're always working.

Make a schedule and stick to it. Create a task list in order of importance and focus on that. Do tidying "as you go," such as washing kitchen utensils as you're making the meal. If you live with other people, get everyone in the habit of cleaning their own plate, and get everyone to do their share. Kids are not helpless; they can certainly be helping clean up long before they are 10 years old. You can reward them with time in front of the TV, computer, or video game system if you have one. By keeping a clean house, you can actually come home and relax after a very busy and stressful day.

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